This page covers many of the questions I get from clients and potential clients. Please let me know if I’ve missed anything. I’m always happy to answer questions and talk through your session!
Q: How far in advance should I book my session?
A: Most clients book 4-6 weeks out. Weekend sessions are available but extremely limited, so if you absolutely need a weekend session, please contact me at least two months in advance. Late Spring and Fall are by far my busiest times. Weekend sessions in September, October, and November often book 8-12 weeks in advance.
Q: What time of day should we do the session?
A: If we are shooting on location, outdoors, then for best light I recommend that we meet early in the day (1-2 hours after sunrise) or late in the day (1-2 hours before sunset). If you absolutely must do the session during the middle of the day, we will be limited in terms of location, but I do have some suggestions for spots that may work. If the session is taking place at your home, indoors, then we can be pretty flexible. Aside from your schedule, it’s helpful to pay attention to when your home gets nice natural light from windows as this is the light source I like best!
Q: Can you help me choose a location?
A: Absolutely. I have lots of suggestions depending on what you might have in mind. Of course, don’t dismiss your own home. At home sessions are my favorite!
Q: Should parents participate in the session or just the kids?
A: A resounding YES! Your kids need pictures of you. Maybe not now, when they are little, but when they get older they will be so happy you did this for them. Think about how much you love to look back at old family photos. Your kids and THEIR kids are going to feel the same way.
Q: But I hate the way I look in pictures – will I feel awkward?
A: Oh, I get this a lot. First of all, no one could be more awkward than me when being photographed. Just ask my photographer friends who have taken my picture. You might feel a little weird for the first few shots, but I promise you will have fun and you will feel comfortable. While I don’t overly pose during my sessions, I will gently guide you, and give you some tips as we go! Most of the time, my sessions feel like we are just friends hanging out and I just happen to have a camera. We will chat and we will laugh and you might even forget that you are there to have your picture taken! If it’s an issue of being unhappy with your weight, your laugh lines, or some other “flaw” that you see in yourself– well, I know that’s hard, and I can completely relate. However, I will tell you that after doing this job for a while now, I understand that we are ALL our own worst critics. Try to see yourself in the positive light that others see you and not with critical eyes. We are all beautiful in our own way and part of my job is helping my clients’ best selves to come through in their images.
Q: Can you “Photoshop” me?
A: Truthfully? Well, yes. However, my style of photography is based on authenticity, not on overly photoshopped images that don’t convey reality. So, I use my tools sparingly. Yes, I will absolutely soften your laugh lines if they are really bothering you and you are printing a 30×40 to hang over your fireplace, but I won’t make you look like a wax figure with glass eyes (I’ve seen too many photographers who do this!), and I really don’t recommend removing braces from your child (this is who they are at this time!). Can I get rid of your teenager’s acne, smooth out a weird lump on your waist, or make your arms look a tiny smidge skinnier — yup, no problem. I don’t do this kind of retouching on every image in your gallery, but I can absolutely make some adjustments on images you are printing with me. Please keep in mind that there may be a charge for certain kinds of retouching out of my normal scope.
Q: What should we wear?
A: Once you book your session I will send you my What to Wear guide, which will include tons of tips on this very subject!
Q: What if the weather doesn’t cooperate?
A: If we’re scheduled to shoot a family session outdoors and it’s really rainy and miserable we can reschedule — no problem! Sometimes if it’s super gray outside I will also suggest we find a new date — Really flat and dark light doesn’t do anyone any favors and you will be much happier with your photos if we wait. If you are scheduled for a weekend session, please keep in mind that our rain date may have to be a weekday due to very limited weekend openings, but I’ll always to my best to fit you in at a convenient time.
Q: What if my child is sick on the day of the session?:
A: Just give me a call and we can reschedule. 24 Hours notice is appreciated not mandatory. Sick kids = bad pictures. :(
Q: Do you bring props?
A: Something that is meaningful to you is better than a “prop” I supply, so if there is something special you’d like to include, feel free to have it at hand. Some ideas: favorite stuffed toy or snuggly, wagon or tricycle, kite, balls, etc. Or does your little boy have an obsession with superheros? Have him bring his cape! Anything that is a “time stamp” to your child at this age is perfect.
Q: When will my gallery be ready and how do I order?
A: Within three weeks, I will send you a link to your password protected gallery and provide details on ordering your prints or wall art. Digital files as well as many common print sizes can be ordered right through your online gallery. In order to maintain a sustainable workflow and provide the best service to all clients, galleries are live for 30 days from the release date.
While you always have the option of online ordering right from your gallery, every client has the option to meet with me to talk through ideas for how you can best display your images. Together, in your home or my office, we can go through your gallery, rate your images, and come up with a plan for a wall display or album. I even have software that will show you how a wall arrangement will look on your particular wall! In addition, I have samples of canvases, albums, frames, etc., and would be more than happy to bring them by or have you stop by my office to have a look.
A: Do you share sneak peeks?
A: Usually within 24 hours, I will post a “sneak peek” on the Cristen Farrell Photography Facebook page. Be sure to “like” my page so that you don’t miss it! And — If you tag yourself and “share” on your wall, you will receive a free 8×10 print with your order. (Please don’t crop out my watermark if you make it your profile picture!). Also, I may post images from your session on my website portfolio and blog within a few months. Because of the visual nature of my work, it’s important for me to be able to share images. However, I never use last names or give away any personal information. I do understand that everyone has a different comfort level with online sharing, so please let me know if you have any questions.
Q: How are my images backed up and protected and how long do you keep them?
A: As soon as I get home from our session, I immediately upload my memory cards and create backups on two separate hard drives. Both of those hard drives are then automatically backed up into the “cloud” through my Crashplan account. (As an aside — you don’t have Crashplan or a similar service for your own hard drives I highly recommend it. You don’t want to learn the hard way!) Once your images are finalized, I upload the JPG files to my online proofing host. This also serves as an additional back up for the final images (which are also saved to the two original hard drives and cloud back up.) I guarantee images will be available for one year from your session. Once they are archived by me to create more space in my system, there may be a fee to de-archive the files.
Please contact me if you have any more questions at all!